Scary stories are not new. The horror genre itself is perhaps has old as any of the Abrahamic religions. With the success of Get Out, Black writers are getting the shine and recognition they always have deserved, However, we know that Jordan Peele is not the anamoly the world may think he is.
From the enslaved peoples of this nation that managed to salvage their traditions and gods; to Charles Chesnutt and his classic story The Grey Woods Hant; Octavia Butler with Kindred and Wild Seed; Tananarive Due with The Good House, The Inbetween and My Soul To Take, Black horror is not (nor ever will be) an anomaly.
In that tradition, we have the podcast Nightlight: Horror Podcast. This podcast was created and run by Tonia Thompson and can be found wherever you get your podcasts. I personally listen through iTunes. This podcast runs horror stories written solely by Black authors, read by Black actors. With that piece of hearing the work read aloud, you have no choice but to be in rapt attention.
I discovered this podcast through the timeline of Twitter about 5 months ago now. When picking Tonia’s brain about what caused her to create this platform, this is what she said:
“I’d always wanted to create a podcast, but held back because it wasn’t the right time. Then GET OUT came out and it felt like a good time, but it wasn’t a great time for me, so I held off. Finally, I decided there would never be a “right time” and just did it anyway.”
In being transparent, we know most artists/creatives have a day job. Tonia is no different. She describes Nightlight as a ‘passion project’, with the review and audience interaction being her fuel to keep going.
With Tonia being a writer herself, and horror being her fitted niche, she said for every submission chosen, the author gets their work edited. “We give feedback on every submission we receive. We may not always be able to do this, but the volume right now allows for it, and I wish more people took advantage of it. It’s free feedback from an editor, which a lot of folks pay for.”
I completely agree! Any editor will make your pay for their time; a good editor is worth that.
Shameless plug: Tonia is a great editor.
Even though I am a fan of the podcast, even though I follow it on all available social media, I know there are things as a fan I wanted to know more about. The podcast can be intensely auditory, so I wanted to know what things Nightlight does that other fans may not know.
Nightlight Facts (directly from Tonia Thompson):
Binaural sound. That’s where what you hear in one ear is different than the other one. It’s kind of like surround sound for your headphones.
Reviews and ratings are essential to our success. If every one of our listeners took 3 minutes to write a review wherever they get their podcasts, we could easily be on more top podcast lists.
I talked about the need to support Black creatives in a Facebook live from my professional page in November. I talked about how not every writer is bent towards ‘the happily ever after.’ For that fact, not every Black writer that does horror as a genre ‘wants to be White.’
Horror is not just for White people!
Black people are not just the token victims in this genre!
We are more than the Bonnie Bennetts!
When asked what dream she has for Nightlight, where she sees it going in the next five years.
“I want to have had at least 2 authors “discovered” via the podcast. I want someone to eventually land a 6 or 7 figure paycheck after having had NIGHTLIGHT as their launching point. Hopefully Jordan Peele or Jason Blum will be a regular listener.”
Us too, Tonia. Us too.
If you are interested in helping to support Nightlight, you can do so via Patreon .
And I’ll let Tonia have the last word:
“Folks who are unable to join can shout us out on social media (Twitter: @nightlightpod; Instagram: @nightlightpod) or in real life to help us find more listeners. And if you know any Hollywood producers, editors at big publishing houses, or Jordan Peele, tell them about us to help a Black writer get their dream job. “
Admin note: The Nightlight Podcast is currently accepting submissions, and does have a online horror writer’s workshop, which starts February 22 with the introductory rate of $69! The class goes up to $99 in June! Please see the website for more information! Thank you.